Yellowstone Studies Show Traffic And Parking Continue To Be Problems

Aug 17, 2017

Vehicles waiting to enter the North Entrance of Yellowstone.
Credit Jim Peaco / Wikimedia Commons

Two studies put out by Yellowstone National Park reveal that traffic and parking are major issues for both visitor enjoyment and for the park’s infrastructure going forward.

According to the Visitor Use Study, over half of the people surveyed said they thought the park is too crowded and that traffic is a problem. More than two thirds said parking is also a problem. Additionally, the Transportation and Vehicle Mobility Study shows that demand for roads and parking facilities in Yellowstone will soon exceed capacity.

Jonathan Shafer, a public affairs assistant at Yellowstone National Park, said some of these issues stem in part from the fact that visitation to the park is intensifying.

“Visitation since 2008 has risen by about forty percent in Yellowstone. There are a number of places in the park that are at or near capacity. It appears that vehicular demand for roads and parking in Yellowstone may exceed capacity between 2021 and 2023,” said Shafer.

He said they are in the pre-planning stages of how to solve some of these problems, but they have hired an expert to try and address this.

“We have a social scientist on our staff now who’s responsible for looking at human visitation to the park. Understanding why people come here, the kinds of experiences they’d like to have while they’re in the park, and the things the park service can do to manage that going forward,” Shafer said.

Possible solutions include providing a shuttle service and expanding parking options.